The holiday season and December, in particular, has always been my favorite time of year. I love the lights, the festivities, and most importantly – giving back. While random acts of kindness should obviously be implemented year-round, there’s something about the holiday season that really brings the giving-side out in people.
December is special to me not only because of Christmas, but it also happens to be my birthday month! In fact, Christmas, my birthday, and New Years all fall in the same week! Don’t get me started on how sharing a birthday with Jesus means there’s really no competition and no one cares. I’ve dealt with the “Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday!” gifts literally my entire life. But alas, I digress. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU JESSI.
Birthdays generally tend to be steered towards people giving and serving US. So I decided to flip the switch. Every year, during the month of my birthday, I do what I call, “The Birthday Project”, or RACK.
So what’s RACK?
RANDOM Acts of Christmas Kindness
Sounds simple, right? Do something nice for someone else? It is. Except for the fact that I do one act of kindness every single DAY for the entire 31 days. That means I have to get creative. If you’re ready to take on this awesome project and idea, I’ve made you a killer list with 20 of my top favorite random acts of kindness.
??Don’t forget to download my FREE printable to help you get started! ??
#1. Give to the less fortunate
That statement may be an obvious one, but I like to get creative. I started last year’s first day of RACKED with an extra pumpkin pie we had leftover from Thanksgiving. There was a less-fortunate woman who was camped in a tent on the side of the road by my house and I brought her the pie, whipped cream, and some warm blankets.
#2. Donate to your local animal shelter
You have no idea how much these shelters need food, blankets, leashes, really anything you can think of. Almost every animal shelter lives off of donations. That means the food they give to these animals comes from community donations. If you don’t know, now you know.
#3. Pre-pay at a gas pump
This one is one of my favorites. Listen, I know gas is pricey. I, too, drive a car. It doesn’t mean you have to pre-pay your entire paycheck. In fact, I only do $10. I tape it to the gas pump as fast as I can and drive away. Then I picture what the stranger’s face looks like when they pull up and see it. Most likely very confused….but it’s a good one!
#4. Leave Dollars at the dollar store
Yup. You read that right. You can hide them all around the store. It’s an especially good idea to leave a bunch in the kid’s toy aisle. If you have kids, or even just witnessed it, you know every child wants a toy at the store. I have a 6-year-old stepson that thinks the dollar store is the coolest place in the world.
Oh, and in case there’s that ONE person reading this – I know there’s tax. It’s not as cool to hide $1.06.
#5. Give to your local crossing guards
Listen. These people have a job that requires them to stand in the freezing cold 5 days a week during the wintertime. They keep your kids safe. There was a particular crossing guard last year that I would pass every single morning. No matter how cold it was, he always looked so happy! He would smile and wave at me as I passed on my way to work. It started to be a part of my morning routine that I really looked forward to. So, I paid it forward. When I stopped to thank him and give him the hot chocolate and cookies, he had the biggest surprised grin on his face. I drove off crying. It was such a neat experience.
#6. Put dollar bills inside a Redbox movie
I’m proud to say that this one is very clever, however, word of warning: be careful and make sure the bills are flat and the movie case closes completely. Every time I do this one I’m always so scared that it’s going to jam the machine or something. What’s the saying? No good deed…
#7. Tape quarters to a vending machine
You can do this on any vending machine! Imagine that face when a mom’s screaming toddler is begging for candy and she’s used to telling them no while trying to avoid the public meltdown that’s inevitably going to happen. Can’t say no now! (Not sure if that’s a good thing)
#8. Adopt a family in need for Christmas
You don’t have to have millions of dollars to donate to a family in need. Take this one example in particular. Yes, I bought some of these toys below, but most of them were 100% donated. You read that right. I did a post on a couple of Facebook yardsale pages and boom. You’ll be surprised how many people are so eager to help when given the opportunity.
I asked for donations because I had already adopted a family for Christmas through a local organization when I found out that a neighboring family, with TEN kids, (hello Utah!) had NOTHING. They didn’t even have furniture in their home. I got a kitchen table and beds for ALL of the kids, along with dressers. All DONATED. Then I had other people deliver all of it, so they didn’t know it was me. On Christmas Eve, we brought 10 LARGE boxes (one for each child) full of clothing and toys to the front of their house, knocked, and ran.
They still don’t know it was me to this day. The chances of them reading this blog post are about one in a million, so I have that going for me. (That was an insult on myself.)
No matter how bad you think you have it, someone out there always wishes they had it as good as you.
#9. Leave inspirational notes in gas station bathrooms
Sound strange? Maybe. I did them on card stock and cut them into squares, then wrote an inspirational message like, “In case no one has told you today, you’re beautiful” I made 20 different messages then went on a mission to drop them in every gas station I could find in a 5-mile radius. I don’t know about you, but when I’m squatting to pee I’d sure love to read about how a stranger loves me. Puts a little pep in your step.
#10. Pick up trash
Yes, you read that correctly. Mother Nature needs random acts of kindness in a way we can’t even understand. I pick up trash every time I see it, especially when I’m hiking (one of my biggest pet peeves on the planet). This can be as simple as picking up trash around an actual trash can. Yes, that’s a thing. Unfortunately, there are people out there so lazy that when they throw trash away they don’t even care if it lands in the can.
#11. Give a stranger a compliment
I am that total weirdo that will tell a stranger I love their shoes, their purse, their hair. I’ve had ex’s in the past that said it embarrassed them. Screw that. You have no idea what an impact a random compliment can have on someone’s day. Bonus: when you tell a girl you like an item of clothing, they usually tell you where they bought it. Don’t believe me? Try it.
#12. Buy coffee or food for someone behind you in-line
Bonus points if someone honked and flipped you off in the drive-thru, then you get to pay it back by killing them with kindness. Imagine what an ass they would feel like afterward. You’re welcome.
#13. Brag to a manager about one of their employees
Ok, guys. Retail sucks. It’s possibly the worst job on the planet and I say that from experience. Working with the public, in general, is just plain horrific. If you go anywhere and experience great customer service, take a second to find the manager and praise the employee. You have no CLUE how much that will mean to them. Most of the time a manager is only requested when there is a complaint or a problem. Take a second to brighten someone’s day.
#14. Send a ‘Thank you’ card or note to the officers at your local police or fire station.
Last year I actually baked cookies and wrote a thank you note. I literally knocked on the fire station door, handed them the cookies, and when they said: “What’s this for?” I said, “Everything you do.” and left. These people are so ridiculously underpaid for what they do. More often than not, at fire stations, they are actually volunteers, which means they make NOTHING at all. The least we can do is thank them.
#15. Give away something you don’t want, for free
Have something not generally worth a lot of money that you no longer need or want? Give it away for free online. Use Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or any other online yard sale site. I had a DateNight Box for sale for $20. Someone offered me $5, so instead of taking the measly five bucks, I said come get it and it’s yours.
#16. Tell someone how much you appreciate them
This doesn’t just apply to a family member or significant other. Appreciation goes a long way. Tell a co-worker or a friend how much you truly appreciate them without expecting anything in return.
#17. Let someone go ahead of you in-line
Is this one too simple? Not at all. We live in a world where everyone is in such a damn hurry all the time. Car in front of you not going fast enough? The line for Starbucks taking too long? How many times have you seen people so angry because they are rushing everywhere they go and the world just isn’t going fast enough for their liking? Losing 2 minutes of your day by letting someone go ahead of you in line is literally nothing. The same thing applies when allowing another car to pull out into your lane when you’re driving! The little things matter.
#18. Be a part of operation gratitude
I love this one so much. I’ve done it a few times and it never gets old. This organization allows you to write letters to soldiers that are deployed, first responders, veterans, a new recruit, a wounded warrior, and more. For more information on this amazing operation, click here.
#19. Take a friend on a date
No, I’m not suggesting that you date your friend if you are already taken. I’m referring to inviting a friend to the movies, dinner, etc, and paying for them. It can be as simple as taking them to the $5 movie nights on Tuesdays! (If you didn’t know that was a thing, you’ve been living under a rock – see info on a $5 movie theater near you, by clicking here.)
And last but certainly not least…
#20. Be kind to yourself
This is the most difficult one yet. We are often so incredibly hard on ourselves. We look in the mirror and criticize everything we see, we call ourselves stupid when we don’t know all the answers, we get angry at ourselves when we lose something, and the list goes infinitely on. Practicing self-love can be the very best thing we ever do for ourselves. Remember that this needs to be a daily practice. I love you. You should love you. The end.
And in summary
I don’t want you to think for even one second that I wrote this blog post looking for praise and recognition. In fact, over the last few years, I haven’t even posted anything on social media. Why? Because looking for praise and recognition when helping other people is the most counter-productive thing you can possibly do. Again, it isn’t about you. The point of giving is to serve others while expecting absolutely nothing in return. That includes skipping that bragging post on social media telling people what a great person you are. You’re awesome. We get it.
The unexpected Bonus
When you seek to serve others the irony is that you DO get miracles and blessings in return. Helping other people actually DOES end up helping YOU, and not in a selfish way. It helps change your perspective on your current situation while learning to appreciate everything you have in your life.
My intention when sharing this post is to encourage others to pay it forward. You have no idea what a random act of kindness can do for a stranger. I’m not exaggerating when I say that you could literally save someone’s life. I think most of us get caught up in our own lives and the daily craziness that we put on ourselves, forgetting that the simplest of things can make the most significant impact on someone else. A smile, a compliment, paying for a meal.
Just think how different this world would be if everyone took a few minutes out of their week to do something for someone else.
So whether you implement these ideas into a one-month project, or do them on a daily basis, you’re sure to make a difference to not only the ones you serve…but to yourself.
Start today and make someone’s day better.
Don’t forget to download the FREE RACK’d printable here! ??